4.144 Architectural Design, Level II: New Orleans Studio

Spring 2006

Satellite imagery showing flooding in New Orleans.The extent of flooding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina is shown in this satellite image. (Image courtesy of NASA.)

Course Highlights

This course features a sample of the assignments from the class, as well as the publication from the studio, presented in the projects section.

Course Description

The project for this studio is to design a demonstration project for a site near the French Quarter in New Orleans. The objectives of the project are the following:
  1. To design more intense housing, community, educational and commercial facilities in four to six story buildings.
  2. To explore the "space between" buildings as a way of designing and shaping objects.
  3. To design at three scales - dwelling, cluster and overall.
  4. To design dwellings where the owners may be able to help build and gain a skill for employment.
  5. To provide/design facilities that can help the residents to gain education and skills.


Course Description

"Coming Together"
Housing in New Orleans

The project for the semester is to design a demonstration project for a site near the French Quarter in New Orleans. The objectives of the project are the following:

Since it is unclear how and where New Orleans will be rebuilt, the site chosen for this project is next to the French Quarter and was not flooded during the hurricane. In addition, we will look for clues from the dense part of the old city to design new housing without imitating the old. Special emphasis will be place on designing around "three dimensional courtyards" for both community use and natural ventilation. Presently the site is a parking area and the parking will be kept but might be below the building and the housing could be higher than the existing land in case the area is flooded in the future. Total height of our proposal is up to individual students.

We will be working with a NGO group called "The Urban Conservancy" that is trying to help rebuild New Orleans using local labor and providing jobs for residents as well as channeling the funds to New Orleans instead of large construction companies.

In the middle of February we will travel to New Orleans to visit the site, old city, meet with community groups, city agencies and understand the culture of the city. This trip will be paid for by both the department funds and other funds.

Other issues to be explored during the semester:

At the end of the studio we will invite community, city and NGO groups to our final review and organized the designs into a small publication to send to New Orleans.

View the instructor's introductory statement about the studio (PDF).


11st Studio

Explanation of Project

Handout Materials
Assignment 1 (New Orleans - Form and Climate) due
3Work/Critiques (cont.)
4Pin-up of Assignment 1Assignment 2 (New Orleans Observations) due
5Leave for New Orleans
6Visit New Orleans
7Visit New Orleans (cont.)
8Return from New Orleans
9Pin-up of Assignment 2Assignment 3 (First Pass at Overall Design: Quick Sketch/Junk Models @ 1/32" Scale) due
10Work/Critiques (cont.)
11Pin-up of Assignment 3Assignment 4 (Space Between and Horizontals/Verticals: Model @ 1/32" Scale) due
12Work/Critiques (cont.)
13Work/Critiques (cont.)
14Pin-up of Assignment 4Assignment 5 and 6 (Dwelling and Cluster Thoughts: Drawings and Models at 1/8" Scale) due
15Work/Critiques (cont.)
16Work/Critiques (cont.)
17Pin-up of Assignments 5 and 6Midterm Assignment 7 (Overall Design, Cluster Design and Dwelling Design: Drawings and Models at 1/16" Scale and 1/8" Scale) due
18Work/Critiques (cont.)
19Work/Critiques (cont.)
20Work/Critiques (cont.)
21Work/Critiques (cont.)
22Mid-term Review
23Work/Critiques (cont.)Assignment 8 (Revised Design: Model @ 1/8" Scale) due 2 days before Ses #23
24Pin-up of Assignment 8Sketch Assignment (Elevation Study) due
25Work/Critiques (cont.)
26Work/Critiques (cont.)
27Pin-up of Sketch AssignmentAssignment 9 (Developing a Chunk: Model @ 1/8" Scale) due
28Work/Critiques (cont.)
29Work/Critiques (cont.)
30Pin-up of Assignment 9
31Work/Critiques (cont.)Assignment 10 (Final Review) due 1 day before Ses #31
32Work/Critiques (cont.)
33Work/Critiques (cont.)
34Work/Critiques / Pin-up of Work in Progress
35Work/Critiques (cont.)
36Work/Critiques (cont.)
37Work/Critiques (cont.)
38Work/Critiques (cont.)
39Last Studio - Final ReviewFinal Project due


1Assignment 1 (PDF)
11Assignment 4 (PDF)
17Assignment 7 (PDF)
31Assignment 10 (PDF)


The work of the semester has been captured in a book designed by the studio and presented to the constituency in New Orleans. You can view the book here. The book and all the work contained in it are courtesy of the students named and used with permission.

Coming Together: Housing in New Orleans - William Abrahamson, Emily Lammert, Meelena Oleksiuk, Reilly Rabitaille, and Patrick Rhodes-Vivour (PDF - 7.0 MB)



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